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More California budget cuts proposed for the current year

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced additional cuts to the state budget today. To bridge an estimated $11.2 billion budget gap, he’s proposing to raise $4.7 billion with new taxes (including raising the state sales tax by 1.5 cents, taxing services like car repair and veterinary visits, and raising taxes on drinks served in bars and restaurants). Cuts to K-12 education funding in the current school year total $2.5 billion under the new plan. No word yet on what cuts will look like for 2009-10. “A drastic situation like this,” Schwarzenegger said in a news conference, “takes drastic measures.” State Republicans say they’ll fight the increase in taxes.

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Alameda schools in crisis, a state-wide problem

Tom Pavletic can blame Alameda’s school funding troubles on a bloated administration, but the actual fact remains that public schools up and down California don’t have enough dollars to provide the services they’re expected to. (Here’s a chart comparing administrative costs in Alameda Unified to those of other county districts—Alameda ranks 12th of 16.) Every district is hurting and hurting hard; every district needs outside funding sources, be it parcel tax dollars, grants or donations. Most districts are doing their best to get by with a combination of the three. Rob Siltanen, who blogs at School 94501/94502, linked yesterday to an Los Angeles Times article, California public schools seek private money just to cover basics, which attempts to track some aspects of the state-wide problem.

Education funding is complex. Why does Alameda get less than other districts? Why do local districts have to set their budgets before the state budget is final? If you want to learn more about Alameda schools, come to an informational meeting featuring some of our town’s dedicated citizens, School Board President Bill Schaff, Alameda Education Foundation Executive Director Brooke Briggance, and Jerry Nussbaum, of Kane & Associates.

Tuesday, April 29, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Ruby Bridges Elementary Multipurpose Room
351 Jack London Ave.

Free child care will be available